Odds to Reach Postseason for Every NHL Team Still Fighting for a Playoff Spot

Steve Silverman@@profootballboyFeatured ColumnistApril 22, 2013

Odds to Reach Postseason for Every NHL Team Still Fighting for a Playoff Spot

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    The final week of the regular season will give us definitive answers on which teams are going to be playing postseason hockey and which teams are going home.

    The Western Conference is particularly tight.

    Nine teams are fighting for the final four playoff spots. The Chicago Blackhawks, Anaheim Ducks, Vancouver Canucks and Los Angeles Kings have already clinched playoff spots, while the other four spots are up for grabs.

    In the Eastern Conference, the situation is much more settled. Five teams are fighting for four spots.

    The Pittsburgh Penguins, Boston Bruins, Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs have already clinched playoff positions. The Maple Leafs are in for the first time since 2003-04.

    Here's a look at the odds for each of the teams that are still fighting to get into the playoffs.

Eastern Conference Probables

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    Washington Capitals

    • Third place (leading Southeast Division)
    • 52 points
    • 22 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: vs. Winnipeg, April 23; vs. Ottawa, April 25; vs. Boston, April 26

    Odds: 3-5

    The Caps have been on a long push since midseason, and they will hold on to the third seed in the Eastern Conference if they can win the Southeast Division title. The critical game is against the Jets. They will clinch the division title if they can beat them at home. Playing all three of their games at home this week is a significant advantage for head coach Adam Oates and Co.

    New York Islanders

    • Sixth place
    • 53 points
    • 20 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: at Carolina, April 23; at Philadelphia, April 25; at Buffalo, April 26

    Odds: 3-5

    The Islanders have been surging since the middle of the season and have done most of the hard work. They seem likely to fulfill their playoff aspirations. With three games left against non-playoff teams, there's no reason that the Islanders can't win all of them. The Flyers could conceivably push them the hardest, but even if they lose that game, 57 points would earn them a playoff spot.

    New York Rangers

    • Seventh place (tied)
    • 52 points
    • 20 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: at Florida, April 23; at Carolina, April 25; vs. New Jersey Devils, April 27

    Odds: 3-5

    The Rangers have been a disappointment this year since they were expected to be the top team in the Eastern Conference. However, they are playing their best hockey of the season at this point. They have garnered a 7-2-1 record in their last 10 games. The Rangers have found some offense after struggling to score goals all year. While the Devils could give them a fight in the season finale, they should win all of their remaining games and earn a spot in the playoffs.

Eastern Conference Possible

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    Ottawa Senators

    • Seventh place (tie)
    • 52 points
    • 19 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: vs. Pittsburgh, April 22; at Washington, April 25; vs. Philadelphia, April 27; at Boston, April 28

    Odds: 7-5

    The Senators have struggled in the last portion of the season and are 4-6-0 in their last 10 games. While they have a three-point lead on ninth-place Winnipeg, they will get pushed to the limit by the Penguins, Caps and Bruins. They are unlikely to win any of those games. They should dominate the Flyers at home, and a win there should give them just enough to outlast the Winnipeg Jets

Eastern Conference Unlikely

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    Winnipeg Jets

    • Ninth place
    • 49 points
    • 21 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: at Buffalo, April 22; at Washington, April 23; vs. Montreal, April 25

    Odds: 4-1

    The Jets have battled all year, but it appears they are going to fall just short if they can't beat the Capitals on the road April 23. That would appear to be a lot to ask, because Washington has established a superiority in the season series, winning three of four games. They are three points behind the Senators and Rangers, and it's unlikely they will be able to make up that deficit.

Western Conference Probables

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    San Jose Sharks

    • Fifth place
    • 55 points
    • 16 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: vs. Dallas, April 23; at Phoenix, April 24; at Los Angeles, April 27

    Odds: 1-2

    The Sharks are all but in since they have a seven-point lead over ninth-place Detroit. The Red Wings would need to sweep their four remaining games while the Sharks could not gain more than one point if the Red Wings were going to catch them. That would also assume that the St. Louis Blues, Columbus Blue Jackets and Minnesota Wild pass them in the standings. The Sharks face three solid teams, but they should emerge with at least two points.

    St. Louis Blues

    • Sixth place
    • 54 points
    • 21 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: vs. Colorado, April 23; vs. Calgary, April 24; vs. Chicago, April 27

    Odds: 3-5

    The Blues have been playing much stronger hockey in recent weeks, and they have won seven of their last 10 games. All their remaining games are at home, and they should be able to beat the Colorado Avalanche and Calgary Flames at home without much trouble. The season finale against the Blackhawks could be a problem, but the Blues should be back in the postseason again this season.

Western Conference Possibles

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    Minnesota Wild

    • Seventh place (tie)
    • 51 points
    • 20 regulation or overtime Wins

    Games Remaining: vs. Los Angeles, April 23; vs. Edmonton, April 26; at Colorado, April 27

    Odds: 6-5

    The Wild have been limping home, going 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. However, if they can play a solid game against Los Angeles at home and come away with at least a point, they should be in good shape because they close with a pair of playoff outsiders. If the Wild blow it and finish on the outside after their season finale, head coach Mike Yeo could find himself in serious trouble.

    Columbus Blue Jackets

    • Seventh place (tie)
    • 51 points
    • 17 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: at Dallas, April 25; vs. Nashville, April 27

    Odds: 5-2

    The Blue Jackets have been one of the best stories in the league. Going from the worst team in the NHL to the playoffs is an excellent step for this team. It looks good with six days to go in the season, but the Jackets have just two games remaining. A road game against the Stars will be a tester, and they could need a win in the season finale against the Preds to earn a playoff spot. That will increase the pressure on the Blue Jackets significantly.

Western Conference Unlikelys

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    Detroit Red Wings

    • Ninth place (tie)
    • 48 points
    • 18 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: vs. Phoenix, April 22; vs. Los Angeles, April 24; vs. Nashville, April 25; at Dallas, April 27

    Odds: 3-1

    The proud Detroit Red Wings are in a precarious position going into the final days of the regular season. They are on the outside looking in and are three points behind the Minnesota Wild and Columbus Blue Jackets. However, all is not lost as the Red Wings still have their destiny in their own hands since they have four games remaining, and the Blue Jackets have just two. The Red Wings would have to win all of them to assure themselves of a playoff spot. The games against the Kings and Stars appear to be the most difficult.

    Dallas Stars

    • Ninth place (tie)
    • 48 points
    • 20 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: at San Jose, April 23; vs. Columbus, April 25; vs. Detroit, April 27

    Odds: 4-1

    The Stars were surging after trading Brenden Morrow, Jaromir Jagr and Derek Roy, and they are 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. However, the Stars may be running out of opportunities. If the Stars can get a huge road win at San Jose, they may be able to determine their own fate with wins in the final two games of the season. It will be difficult to overcome their current three-point deficit.

    Phoenix Coyotes

    • 10th place
    • 46 points
    • 15 regulation or overtime wins

    Games Remaining: at Detroit, April 22; vs. San Jose, April 24; vs. Colorado, April 26; at Anaheim, April 27

    Odds: 5-1

    The Coyotes would need to have a remarkable week to make the playoffs. The Coyotes almost certainly need to sweep their remaining four games just to have a chance to make the playoffs. They would also need other circumstances to break their way. While it looks bleak for the Coyotes, head coach Dave Tippett almost always gets a maximum effort from his team.